Corn: Historic import pace boosts total supply

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Projected U.S. corn supplies for 2012/13 are increased to 11,894 million bushels as forecast imports are raised 25 million bushels to keep up with the year-to-date pace. Shipments from Brazil surged in November and December 2012 and January 2013. The pace of over 15 million bushels per month is historically high and supports a record import forecast of 125 million bushels for the marketing year. Higher import volume from Mexico accounts for some of the gain. September 2012-January 2013 import volume was 65 million bushels, up from 7 million during the same period a year earlier.

Corn exports projected to be lowest since 1971/72, feed and residual use up sharply
The extremely slow pace of U.S. corn shipments to date is expected to continue due to high prices, stronger expected competition from South American corn, and competitively priced feed quality wheat. September 2012-January 2013 export volume was 329 million bushels, compared with 721 million bushels during the same period in 2011/12. These factors support a reduction in projected exports of 75 million bushels to 825 million, the lowest level in more than 40 years. In 1971/72, the last time exports were lower than the current forecast, export levels plunged to 782 million bushels. Stocks are forecast unchanged at 632 million bushels. The increase in imports and reduction in exports supports a 100-million-bushel increase in projected feed and residual use to 4,550 million bushels. Corn demand for feeding poultry is supported by higher expected production of poultry meats.

Based on farm prices reported to date, estimated marketings, futures prices, and current cash market price data, the U.S. average projected corn price received by producers was lowered $0.20 cents per bushel on the high end of the range and unchanged on the low end. The resulting midpoint is $7.10 per bushel, $0.10 lower than last month’s midpoint projection.

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